The “talkative and arrogant” Shiv Sena leader, Sanjay Raut on Friday cried foul as he alleged that an attempt is being made to discredit the Bollywood, probably to ensure that the renowned personalities, residing in Mumbai leave amid the on-going Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) probe.
Attacking the leadership of BJP at Centre and the state, Saamana, the mouthpiece of Sena, said that the stars from the Hindi film industry in Mumbai have been used by politicians in the Centre as well as the State from time to time to suit their needs. This comes at a time when the NCB has summoned several prominent Bollywood actors, including Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, among others associated with the industry in connection with a drug case related to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Raut is the de-facto editor of the Marathi daily, Saamana.
In his article in the Marathi daily, Raut said, “This week, as the establishment’s attack on Hindi movie actors and producers intensified, I found myself thinking back to the political journalist Rasheed Kidwai’s Neta-Abhineta, a 2018 accounting of the entwinement of Hindi cinema and national politics. ” Is such a type of environment being created so that the cinema industry and the flashy personalities working in it leave Mumbai? This speculation is gaining ground. In a systematic fashion a picture is being painted that the actors, directors, cinematographers etc have left acting and become ‘gardulle’ and leaving arts they have started farming ‘ganja’ and ‘afeem’ in the galleries, and balconies of their homes,” the article read.
The much-talked book of Kidwai, “Neta Abhineta” vividly talked about Rekha, who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha during the UPA years, a counter move against the Samajwadi Party that had nominated Jaya Bhaduri in the upper house. The book also talked about Rahul Gandhi and Kareena Kapoor. Kareena had an early crush on Rahul Gandhi. It was revealed to all in a 2002 Simi Garewal interview. Kidwai gets a key Gandhi family aide, PP Madhavan, to confirm that this revelation had enough of an impact on the Congress president to start buying first-day, first-show tickets of Ms Kapoor’s films. By the time 2009 happened, she had moved on, but what’s nice about the book, is that Kidwai traces this admiration back to Raj Kapoor and Indira Gandhi’s time. Apparently, the former Prime Minister was so impressed with the Kapoors, she was hoping to have Rajiv married to Ritu, Raj Kapoor’s eldest. This, Kidwai explains, wasn’t because she was star struck, but because the Kapoors contributed significantly to “cultural diplomacy” and Prithviraj Kapoor also played an exemplary role as a nominated MP. Nehru was struck with amazement when he met Stalin on a tour to Russia as one of the questions he asked was about Raj Kapoor and Awara.The best part about Neta Abhineta is that it is abundant in its precious anecdotes about iconic films and political personalities.
The Sena mouthpiece referred some anecdotes of the book in its article. It said, “Prime Minister Modi and several States have used the artists of this film industry for (enhancing) their political status. In Gujarat Modi and Salman Khan were flying kites. Amitabh Bachchan was the brand ambassador of Gujarat. PM Modi had given the responsibility of teaching people how to eat ‘aam’ (mangoes) to Akshay Kumar. Vivek Oberoi has made earnings from the film made on Modi, and Anupam Kher on the film made from Manmohan Singh.”
While mentioning all sort of things in the article, Raut could not control himself to spew venom on the announcement of India’s biggest and most beautiful Film City at Noida in Uttar Pradesh by the chief minister Yogi Adityanath in the wake of recent Bollywood development.
The film city as announced by the UP Chief Minister will be spread over one thousand acres and will be built around the Yamuna Authority area, with the help of international advisors in the coming two-three years, the editorial said. Countering it, Raut said that ‘Chitranagri’ of Goregaon in Mumbai will always stay relevant, and asserted that the Centre should have thought of starting a film city in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370. “Everybody has contributed to the Hindustani film industry. Dadasaheb Phalke and Maharashtra took everyone along. Then it was expanded. Now mudslinging is being done. But if other States are also starting film industries like Mumbai then best wishes to them,” it quipped.
It seems that the Rajya Sabha member is not happy with the announcement of a new Film city in Uttar Pradesh. The image, prestige and reputation of Mumbai and Bollywood will remain the same and it will not be replaced by any such new film industry elsewhere. However, it is also the moral duty of Sena and its leaders who are always feeling of pride for Mumbai and Bollywood should behave responsibly and desist themselves to term ladies who are working in this film industry, as “haramkhor ladkis.”
** M Charulata